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Sehwag: Good every six months

india Updated: Dec 11, 2006 17:36 IST

Don't bother yourself if you don't quite know what is Multan ke Sultan ki Tikdi. Even the best of food connoisseurs would find it difficult to figure out.

This strange sounding name is a dish served at Sehwag's favourite, a restaurant in Delhi's Fun Cineplex. However, the restaurant's future could be in trouble given the dismal performance of Sehwag this year.

At a time when Sehwag is ceasing to be peoples' favourite, it's a million dollar question who would like to feast in Sehwag's favourite.

Team India's performance in 2006 has been pitiable, primarily due to the failure of its key players, Sehwag being the foremost amongst them. In the 24 ODIs played by him this year, he has scored 607 runs at an average of 26.43. Out of the five fifties that he managed, India won only in two matches. This unmistakably hints that Sehwag's presence, if at all, has been very much inconspicuous.

His contribution in Test cricket has been equally bad. In ten matches he has scored 746 runs. His two major scores during the year were 254 and 180, scored roughly six months apart. No wonder an irate cricket fan from Kolkata, Mayank Bhansaly, quipped, "Sehwag is good every six months. It would be better he be rested six months after every match."

Sehwag has been good but in flashes. A good innings spaced at critical intervals has helped him survive in the Indian team — giving him a fresh lease of life every time his place in the team was under threat. But the pertinent question here is — whether India can afford such inconsistencies?

The Indian cricket management has always been wanting in their resolve to rest or drop key players in spite of bad performances. Anywhere else in the world, a player in Sehwag's position would have found it difficult to retain his place in the team. But thanks to India's tolerance of mediocrity, Sehwag continues to grace the Indian team — exhorting people to keep faith in Team India. Probably he would do well to realise that it's not India in which people have lost faith, it's in fact him.

A young entrepreneur in Delhi, Nikhil Kumar, says, "Nothing and no one is indispensable, certainly not the ones who are not performing. Whether it's the master blaster Tendulkar, who neither remains a master nor a blaster or Rahul Dravid, the Wall, who seems to have hit one, no one should take his place in team for granted."

There are loads of talents available in domestic cricket, which are waiting to be unearthed. To conclude that Team India is dependent on a few big names, would, if anything, be preposterous. There was a time when Indian batting started and ended with Tendulkar, which is not the case now. On the contrary, for the first time his role in the team is being questioned.

Chances are that by the time this article engenders the desired response, Sehwag would have scored another of his six monthly saviours, but this time it could be imprudent of him to go in an extended period of somnolence.

People stoically tolerate many things, but this time it's becoming impossible for them to tolerate their own disgust at Team India's poor show. The message is clear — perform or perish.

Ah! I forgot to apprise you of the price of the famous dish mentioned in the prologue. It's Rs 309, in remembrance of 309 runs that Sehwag scored in Multan against Pakistan. In deference to this practice,  most of his dishes should be priced Rs 0, Rs 5, Rs 10 et al, the kind of scores he has been registering for quite some time now.

According to Sehwag's official website, the cricketer is planning to open many more Sehwag's favourite outlets, culminating into a chain of such restaurants all over the country. For now, the plans are in serious jeopardy, and so is Sehwag's career.

Email Kamal Kailash: kamalkailash @rediffmail.com

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